Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

This is Capitalism: Up Close, Inspired, Explained

Feb 22, 2018

Ray Hoffman introduces Tammira Lucas and Keisha Ransome. When she was growing up on the West side of Baltimore, Tammira Lucas didn’t have any interest in entrepreneurism. An entrepreneur, to her, was a hustler. Keisha Ransome, growing up in another part of town, had a slightly less negative view of entrepreneurism, but thanks to television, she too, had no particular interest in how businesses are built and grow through capitalism. That started to change, however, in their college years, and today they are deeply involved in a project called Moms as Entrepreneurs. And if you have any doubts that this could go well beyond Baltimore, then you haven’t met Co-Founder Tammira Lucas and her colleague, Founder of Baltimore Etsy Sellers and Head of the Moms as Entrepreneurs Makers’ Academy, Keisha Ransome.


Key Takeaways:

[1:08] Keisha Ransome started her business with love, selling on Etsy in 2012. She made less than $100 the first year and over $500 the second year. The third year, sales skyrocketed. By 2016, with a good hold on the Etsy market, Keisha decided to reach out to other local makers to see if they wanted to share tips with each other in a group.

[1:43] Keisha started Baltimore Etsy Sellers in 2016, four years after she started selling on Etsy. After learning about Meetup, Keisha used it to organize like-minded people. She really liked the Etsy platform and she wanted to share her experiences with others. It became way more than just a meetup.

[2:19] Keisha is a self-taught fashion designer. She makes tulle skirts, also known as tutus, and bridal skirts. Her training is in civil engineering and city planning. She made prom dresses in high school. For 10 years after high school she didn’t sew and then her creative urge bubbled up. She left transportation planning consulting behind for fashion.

[3:45] Tammira Lucas and a partner, Jasmine Simms, started Moms as Entrepreneurs in 2014 as a podcast to put information out there for single moms to get tips, advice, and resources on starting and growing a business. That grew into a conference. The moms came back and asked for more. Tammira and Jasmine hadn’t yet thought about ‘more.’

[5:05] At the same time, there were the Baltimore riots. Tammira and Jasmine saw in their own communities that you can serve the youth, but the root of the problem is not the children — it’s the families. Over 90% of Baltimore homes are single-mother homes.

[5:40] Tammira and Jasmine asked themselves what they could do to be a solution to the problem in their communities. That’s when they launched the Moms as Entrepreneurs Academy. 40 Moms have graduated and received help building or starting their businesses.

[5:58] Tammira says “probably about 15” of their family and friends listened to their first podcast episode. As they learned more about marketing their audience grew. They took a break from podcasting to work on the Academy. They are starting podcasting again. In 2014, it was a hobby aside from their businesses. It was their “give back.”

[7:27] Bringing other mom entrepreneurs onto the episodes was the key to expanding their podcast reach. They spread the word and it started growing from there.

[7:53] Over 100 moms attended the first conference. Now, Tammira and Jasmine are focusing on ‘maker moms.’ Next, they plan to start a culinary academy.

[8:11] Keisha had been holding meetings in various places. Will Holman of Open Works reached out to Keisha and asked if she wanted to hold her meetings at the Open Works facility. He thought the Open Works members might benefit from the Etsy meetups. Will had already been working with Tammira.

[8:48] An Etsy city grant became available and Will thought it would be great for the Etsy Moms to make things at Open Works.

[9:02] Open Works is a workspace near Penn Station in Baltimore. The surrounding community is being revitalized. Open Works has equipment for sewing, woodworking, 3D printing, and more that most people wouldn’t be able to access.

[9:35] 2017 was the first year that Etsy issued grants. Baltimore is the only U.S. city recipient of an Etsy grant.
[10:09] Tammira researched to find additional funding. She learned about the Kauffman Foundation and their focus on entrepreneurship. Tammira applied for their nationwide search for entrepreneurs to fund. Ten grants were awarded. The Kauffman foundation was excited about the collaboration of the three organizations.

[11:23] The Kauffman Foundation wanted to know how each of the organizations started, what impact they want to have, and what outcomes they plan to have. They were driven by growth and building capacity for the future. They wanted to see past results.

[12:11] Keisha says that the Kauffman Foundation picked their brains about their individual motivations and how they planned on getting things done as a team in a video conference that lasted about an hour.

[12:40] The Academy program exposes moms and their children to possibilities of life and entrepreneurship that just aren’t talked about in the communities where they live. The traditional route of getting a job doesn’t always fit.

[13:20] Tammira and Keisha want Moms as Entrepreneurs to become a national organization. Cities like Chicago and Detroit have similar needs.

[13:49] Tammira would love to take the concept personally to other cities and set it up, then let the new organizations carry themselves from there. It is a plan for some time in the next two to three years.

[14:08] Tammira says in 2023, Moms as Entrepreneurs will definitely be a national organization that will provide entrepreneurship training and resources. She is working on her Doctor of Business and is writing a book that will be an entrepreneurship textbook.

[14:55] The book will cover parenthood, running a business as a mom, and business psychology.

[15:13] Keisha wants to see the Makers Academy follow the parent group Moms as Entrepreneurs nationally with help from Etsy in a global online marketplace. Keisha teaches skills that apply to any e-commerce.

[15:42] Keisha wants to see an army of mom makers who are completely successful full-time creative entrepreneurs share their stories, possibly at a national conference.

[16:07] This is capitalism in the making.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Moms as Entrepreneurs

Baltimore Etsy Sellers MeetUp

Moms as Entrepreneurs Makers Academy


Open Works

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

This Is Capitalism